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Watch the Slo Blues online guitar lesson by David Hamburger from Blues Alchemy

You may have noticed that more complex voicings like 9th chords sound better clean than distorted. If you don't want to be dancing around on a bunch of stompboxes when you play, try this: run through a distortion pedal like the Ibanez Tube Screamer with the overdrive dialed all the way down, and leave it kicked in all the time. With your guitar's volume and tone on 10, you'll have all the bite you need for soloing, and when you roll the volume back to about 7, you'll have a good level for rhythm playing and the sound will clean up just enough to let those 9th chords ring out.